Getting a Sworn Translation in Italy
You may have heard the expression ‘sworn translation’ or ‘sworn translator’ and wondered what it means. Maybe someone has specifically asked you for the sworn translation of a document into Italian for legal purposes, and you have no idea of what to do.
This article will respond to some general questions regarding sworn translations:
- What is a sworn translation?
- When is a sworn translation needed?
- Who can perform a sworn translation?
- How can I obtain a sworn translation in Italy?
- How much does a sworn translation cost?
What is a sworn translation?
A sworn translation is a translation that obtains legal value as if it was a certified copy of its source document. It is performed by a sworn translator — also known as traduttore giurato — and is then authenticated by a public officer at an Italian court.
When is a sworn translation needed?
In Italy, a sworn translation (in Italian, traduzione giurata or traduzione asseverata) is usually required whenever a document or a certificate written in English (or any language other than Italian) needs to become legally effective in Italy. The oath statement signed by the translator, along with the authentication of the public officer, attests that the document or certificate has been faithfully and accurately translated, so the translation becomes like a certified copy of the source document but in a different language. In other words, the translation acquires the same validity as the original copy.
Sworn translations may be required, for example, when you apply for Italian citizenship at an Italian municipality or by filing an appeal to an Italian court (as in the so-called “1948 cases”). In this case, you will be asked to provide sworn translations of all the vital records, court orders, and other documents that trace back your lineage and prove your Italian origin. These could be:
- Birth certificates
- Marriage certificates
- Death certificates
- Petitions for Naturalization
- Amendments to vital records
…and many others.
Sworn translations may also be required, for example, in the case of a cross-border succession, when either the deceased person or the appointed heirs are from Italy. They are also needed if you decide to open a company or a branch office in Italy, where you are required to provide sworn translations of the company documentation or the employees’ documents. You will also need a sworn translation of your qualifications if you want to study in Italy.
So, in short, a sworn translation is required in any case where a document needs to be used for official purposes in Italy.
Who can perform a sworn translation?
A sworn translation is performed by a sworn translator, in Italian traduttore giurato. Sworn translators are language professionals who have been accredited by their local Court or Chamber of Commerce and recognized as experts – based on their education and experience – in one or more language combinations.
How can I obtain a sworn translation in Italy?
In order to obtain your sworn Italian translation, you must provide your translator with the original or certified copy (in Italian, copia conforme) of the document that you need to be translated into Italian. Depending on the type of document and its intended use, this might need to be “apostilled” before it can be used in Italy. The Apostille requirement is mandatory for those countries that have signed the Hague Convention (Convention of 5 October 1961) and replaces the previous legalization procedure for foreign public documents. To verify whether or not your document needs an Apostille, it is always recommended to double-check with the authority that will receive your sworn translation.
After receiving the source document and translating it, the sworn translator takes the source document and its Italian translation to the local court where he/she is registered (it can be any Italian court), where the public officer at the Translations Authentication Office (in Italian, ‘Ufficio asseverazione perizie e traduzioni‘) will witness the signing of the oath, staple the source document to its Italian translation, apply the revenue stamps required, assign a unique registration number to the document, and, finally, add stamps and signatures.
The result is one document made up of:
- the source document;
- its Italian translation;
- an oath statement containing personal and professional details of the translator, a description of the document, signatures of the translator and the public officer, the date, and a unique registration number assigned to the document.
How much does a sworn translation cost?
A sworn translation is generally more expensive than a “simple” translation. This is because, by signing the oath statement before a public officer in court, the translator takes legal responsibility for the translated document. In addition to this, a series of factors influence the final cost, such as:
- the nature of the source document;
- the total number of pages;
- the deadline set for its delivery (the tighter the deadline, the higher the cost);
- the number of revenue stamps required for the document;
- any mailing costs incurred to deliver the original document to the translator and to receive the sworn translation (this step is not always necessary).
Public documents in Italy are subject to a government tax. Public documents (in Italian, documenti pubblici or atti pubblici) are any documents or records issued by a public authority or bearing the signature of a public officer (this may be a notary public, a clerk of the court, or any other public officer authenticating the document). As they are authenticated in court by a public officer, sworn translations must bear revenue stamps, whose amount is established by the Italian courts. The Court of Palermo, for example, requires the following revenue stamps for each document:
- a €16,00 revenue stamp on the first page of the translation and then one every 4 pages (the oath statement is included in the page count) or 100 lines. This means that if 2 pages contain more than 100 lines, you need to add one more revenue stamp. The same happens if, for example, 5 pages contain less than 100 lines.
- a €3,92 revenue stamp on the oath statement.
Do you need a sworn translation from English into Italian?
If you need a sworn translation from English into Italian, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Specify the type of document (whether it is a contract, a vital record, a diploma, etc.), the number of pages and its intended use, and I will be happy to provide you with a non-binding quote for your sworn Italian translation.
You are also welcome to send a clear and complete scan of your document to my e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.